The longer a woman delays to begin her treatment for breast cancer, the outcome only gets worse.
According to a recent California study, women who are poor tend to delay treatment and this could be putting their recovery at risk.
In the study, researchers analyzed outcomes of women who began treatment within two weeks of diagnosis and those that delayed and took at least six weeks to commence treatment.
Nearly 22% of women who delayed their treatment for at least six weeks were not alive five years later. 18% of women with no health insurance or who were insured through a public program like MediCal did not begin treatment before six weeks after the diagnosis and 31% of them died within five years. They also found that the five-year survival rate was by far the least for African American women (57%), followed by Latinas (74%), Asian Americans (81%) and whites (86%).
"Surgical delay time was a significant risk factor for reduced survival after breast cancer diagnosis independent of race/ethnicity, cancer state at diagnosis, age, insurance type, and SES. It may be difficult for a physician to make arrangements for surgery because of barriers such as a patient's lack of insurance," researchers said.